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San Francisco 22, Us 6, The City 6, Dr. Faulkner 4, Starchild 3, Richard Janning 2, Chiu 2, California 2, City 2, Peter Cohen 1, Jay Konig 1, Jay 1, Jim Reid 1, Freddie Mac 1, Dr. Scott Fauker 1, Peter 1, David Chu 1, Scott Weiner 1, Fannie Mae 1, Redevelopment 1,
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  SFGTV2    [untitled]  

    October 18, 2012
    6:00 - 6:30pm PDT  

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improving and cleaning up toxic pollution along the city's eastern waterfront and a wide array of positive vital investments in our park system to help maintain that no. 1 rating for us and for future generations. >> thank you, gentlemen. we hope that this discussion was informative. for more information on this and other ballot measures in this year's election, please visit the san francisco league of women voters vote at sfvotes.org. remember, early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm if you don't vote early, be sure to hi, i'm jay konig, a member of the league of women voters.
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along with the league and sf gov tv, i'm here to discuss proposition c the city currently uses federal, state and local funds to support affordable housing programs for both low income and moderate income households. recent federal cutbacks and reductions in state funding have decreased the funding available for affordable housing programs. proposition c would amend the charter to establish a housing trust fund. the city would contribute $20 million dollars to the fund in 2013. each year the city contribution would increase by 2.8 million dollars up to 50.8 million dollars in 2024. after 2024, the city would contribute an annual amount base the on the 50.8 million dollars but adjusted for changes in the city's general
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fund revenue. the city would use the fund to build, purchase and improve affordable housing, provide 15 million dollars for a loan program for down payment assistance for moderate income home buyers and emergency first responders and provide up to 15 million dollars for a program that would help eligible households avoid foreclosure. proposition c would change the affordable housing requirement for private residential developments in two ways. first, it would reduce the on site affordable housing requirement to approximately 12 percent for most projects. second, it would prohibit the city from increasing affordable housing requirements beyond those in place on january 1st, 2013. proposition c would authorize the development of up to 30,000 low income rental units in the city. i'm here with peter cohen,
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executive director of the council of community housing organizations, and a proponent of proposition c also joining us is starchild, local activist with the libertarian party of san francisco and former candidate for public office. he is an opponent of the measure. thank you both for taking the time to be with us day. peter, would you offer some opening comments about your support of the measure? >> sure, and thank you, jay, for having us and for the league of women voters for puting this on. this is a great service. i don't want to overcomplicate this. the prop c housing trust fund is really a very basic measure. it maintains and stabilizes the long-standing funding committee san francisco has made to affordable housing. just in the last two decades the city has helped it produce upwards of 20,000 permanently affordable housing units, boat
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both rental and home ownership. the state of california recently dissolved our redevelopment agencies across the state for various reasons, but one of the unintended consequences was that it eliminated one of the great funding sources for our affordable housing work locally. prop c restores that source essentially to the same level and continue to provide that long-standing commitment. >> thank you. starchild, can you offer some comments for the opposition? >> sure, and thank you again for having us. proposition c would actually subsidize housing for people earning more than the median income in san francisco among others and would reduce the amount of units in new development which go to so-called affordable housing, which isn't really even all
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that affordable. san francisco desperately needs more afrldable housing but this mer err, which essentially brings the san francisco redevelopment agency back from the dead, is not the way to do it. the redevelopment agency has a long history some would say of racism and certainly cronyism, lack of accountability, that's one of the reasons they were closed down last year by the democratic governor. we believe that was a great decision and shouldn't be brought back until 2042. >> peter, similar elements what we're seeing in this proposition almost four times, set asides in 9090 and the bond measures proposed in 2002 and 2004. can you describe how this may be different in its
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effect in how it's being brought forward to the voters? >> sure. well, as i said, the immediate context, the crisis, if you will, is that the city stands to significantly lose funding for its programs. i mean we're talking about a program cut. so that's quite different in some respects from previous attempts, but the similarity is that for many years we've been thinking about how to stabilize the funding that we need for affordable housing programs over the long-term. not everything can be done immediately, sometimes there needs to be long-term planning, there needs to be bonding, it's a complicated process of doing affordable housing work. the way it was done before if a bond was previously passed was to get the voters to approve a bond, you essentially are borrowing money, you spend that down, you pay it back with interest and start over again. the idea of having a somewhat more stable and permanent source is the housing trust
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fund. the difference between this and the previous attempt is it does not touch previous revenues existing now. it builds on existing sources and new sources that are anticipated. that's a very important point for us coming into this. we have many members, i have a coalition, the council of community housing coalition is a coalition of developers and organizers and none of them are in social services. we understand full well you can't rob from peter to pay paul. that was one of our fundamental, if you will, bright lines was that it have revenue that did not touch funding from other sources. >> the opposition. starchild. >> money is fungible so any money put toward this source would by definition not be available for other needs, everything from parks to health
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care to education. this measure would get san francisco city government into the business of making home loans. this is part of what brought on the economic crisis at the federal level, fannie mae and freddie mac giving out home loans to people who couldn't afford to buy and later had their houses foreclosed. we don't know what's going to happen in the housing market for the next 30 years. i think it's foolish to set aside increasing set amounts of money for the next 3 decades when we know right now that there's thousands of people living on the streets. why not just build as many affordable units now as possible and do that by getting government out of the way with all its red tape and regulations and taxes and union work rules that increase the cost of housing. that would be a better way to get affordable housing, not bringing back this redevelopment agency with its
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legacy of driving african americans out of the fillmore and they had slated more than half the bay area for redevelopment before they were shut down. >> anything you'd like to add, peter? >> there's a number of assertions from my opponent that are based in a misunderstanding how affordable housing works in san francisco in this particular measure. unfortunately there's not enough time to tackle all of them, but i want to make clear this is not subsidizing middle income home owners. this is going to go primarily for low and very low householders in san francisco. that has always been the programmatic focus because you can leverage funding. we live in a high income market and that is exactly why we have an
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affordable sector in this city. when it comes it recreating redevelopment, that's a fallacy. it's about recognizing that redevelopment allowed a certain portion of money to be used for redevelopment. it's not about recreating redevelopment, in fact that's a closed chapter in history. lastly the idea we are reducing the mixed income housing is also a sort of fallacy. there is a purpose to providing an incentive for developers to do what's called mixed income housing, providing some of their units are affordable to mixed income households. most developers do not do that and this is an incentive for them to do it. this is providing a set of programs that are funded providing all the way for folks who were formerly homeless to folks who are middle income to be and stay in san francisco. >> any final comments,
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starchild. >> it sounds like peter is saying on one hand, well, no, it won't subsidize middle income people then he's saying there is a range all the way from middle income people all the way up to -- he doesn't say what the top range is. there's a guy named jim reid who is a contractor here he built himself in his own back yard a single unit house that he built for $12,000, very small, designed for one person, getting somebody off the street, like 10 foot by 10 foot but it had plumbing, electricity, storage, everything someone would need to live a simple existence. 12,000, how much is it going to cost to build these, half a million dollars? they are not really affordable. they're not going to help those most in need of housing as we can see by the continued presence of
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the homeless on the streets of san francisco. this is a measure designed to capture revenue like the redevelopment agency did. >> thank you both very much for sharing your thoughts and insights. we hope this discussion was informative. for more information on this and other ballot measures in this year's election, please visit the san francisco league of women voters web site at sfvotes.org and remember early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm if you don't vote early , be sure to vote on november 6. thank you. . >> hi, i'm richard janning, a
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board member of the league of women voters. along with the league and sf gof tv, i'm here to discuss proposition d, a ballot measure that will be before the voters on november 6. the mayor, sheriff and district attorney are elected in november of the same year. the city attorney and treasurer are elected in november of a different year. proposition d is a charter amendment that would change the election cycle for city attorney and treasurer so that these officers would be elected at the same time as the mayor, sheriff and district attorney beginning in 2015. i'm here with district 8 supervisor scott weiner, and dr. scott fauker, an opponent of proposition d >> let's start with you, supervisor. thanks for having me. proposition d is a good government measure that will
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increase voter turnout in our elections for city attorney and treasurer, two very important offices, and will also save the city 4.2 million dollars every 4 years. right now we elect our city attorney and treasurer in a very, very low turnout odd year election where they are the only two offices on the ballot. and turnout is always extremely low in that election. and it costs us over $4 million dollars to hold that election. proposition d would move the city attorney and treasurer elections to be on the same ballot as the mayor, which is a much myer turn jut election, so more people would be voting for city attorney and treasurer and every time we don't hold that very low turnout odd year election separately for city attorney and treasurer, we'll save 4.2 million dollars. prop d was put on the ballot unanimously by the board of supervisors and it's been
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endorsed overwhelmingly by both the democratic and republican party. >> dr. faulkner, do you think this is a good idea. >> it has several problems. the original theory is the charter of 1932 was to stagger elections so people would pay more attention to each office, in other words, elect a couple offices each time and do it on an annual basis. this has been modified with various charter amendments but the new charter but the other way theoretically you have more people involved, but in practice when you have those 3-page ballots printed on either side, offices get lost. things like city attorney and city treasurer will get lost in the shuffle. the big problem is city government, making sure the people actually pay attention. we have had a problem for a long time with san francisco and dysfunctional san francisco. that's depending on
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other city issues that are up, the coalition to san francisco neighborhoods is going against them. we have a city government that's very out of touch in many ways and we're, frankly, annual elections would be very wise to keep the people paying attention it what's happened. we have very strong developer interest, strong lobbyist influence, and very little public interest. things get sidelined and they wonder why things suddenly get opposed like the park bond which is being heavily opposeopposed. >> thank you. supervisor, do you believe having the elections all at one time is better for the electorate or does it get lost when you have so many positions up for election? >> since he did raise the issue of the parks bond, we're not here for that. the parks bond has very overwhelming
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support. going back to prop d, there's a balance to be struck. i agree if we only had, if we elected everything from president to dog catcher all on 1 ticket at some point it gets to be too much, but if you spread everything out too much, we could have separate elections for like two offices here, two offices there and have multiple elections every year. yes, that would give more air time to each individual election but no one would vote and you'd have extremely low turn out elections. so for the city attorney-treasurer elections at issue here, even though they have higher prominence in their stand alone odd year election, when only 15, 20 percent, maybe 25 percent in a good year, are actually voting in that election, what's the point? more prominence but no one's actually voting for it. a bad turnout for a mayoral election is better than a good turnout
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for city attorney-treasurer stand alone election. so combining those elections gives a bad balance in terms of increasing voter participation and improving our budget situation. >> thank you. dr. faulkner, if we don't have good voter turnout for the odd year for the city treasurer position, why not combine it with the rest? >> as i said, annual elections at least keep people paying attention. the history of san francisco, which is not a good one, we have had a lot of corruption over the years, russ baldwin, the roof ring, the history of san francisco is pretty open. we have had a tremendous amount of developer influence at city hall, a tremendous amount of lobbying, the people are pushed out of it. we need more public participation. originally odd elections were scheduled for the mayor's race, we do not schedule it with the president
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for that reason. with the first repeal of district elections the people who did the first repeal suddenly moved it over to presidential and gubenatorial elections and changed the pattern. >> dr. faulkner, excuse me for a second. i'm trying to get back to the point here. if we don't feel there's sufficient voter turnout in the treasurer cycle, why not put it with the all the rest. >> first of all we usually have other measures up at the same time including ballot measures, bonds and all the rest. usually those annual elections are important. often they are combined with stake wide elections anyway. the 4 million he is talking about is an illusion because we frequently have special elections for the state as
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well. that's a very persistent thing under schwarzenegger and a lot of people. >> supervisor, we have a little time left and i would like you to conclude and give your opinion why you think we should be voting for this. >> in 2001 we elected city attorney and treasurer in an election that had i think something like 12 or 13 percent turnout. these are two very, very important positions, we should maximize turnout. i think it makes perfect sense to elect these positions with the mayor. i can't tell you how many people after i proposed this at the board of supervisors, paepl on the board, off the board, came up to me and said why didn't anyone think of this before, it makes so much sense. it will save us money, it will mean more people voting for city attorney and treasurer and if that's not democracy, i don't know what is. there's a reason why this is getting such broad support and i think it deserves the voters' support. >> thank you. and dr. faulkner, would you please
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summarize why you believe people should be voting against this measure? >> originally it was all odd year elections for city government. the main focus was to have a lot of elections spread out so people would pay attention. that was the idea of the 1932 charter. it is good in the sense given the history of san francisco and, frankly, a lot of governmental problems we had historically, getting people to pay attention to city government has been very important. we had 1901 to 1907 a group called roof ring, they described the 18 supervisors then on the board as, quote, so corrupt they would eat the paint off the walls. that's the reason why we want people to pay attention to their city government. frankly, new england city governments are the small ones and tall hall government is the best of all. we can't do that. but we can give people is exposure to city
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government, it avoids a lot of problems. we have had a lot of mistakes. (inaudible) was not built when they put in the underground, that caused umpty million dollars to correct. >> we hope this discussion was informative. for more information on this and other ballot measures in this year's election, please visit the san francisco league of women voters at sfvotes.org. remember, early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm if you don't vote early, be sure
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hi, i'm richard janning, board member of the league of women voters. along with the league and sf gof tv, i'm here to discuss proposition e the city requires businesses it pay a flat 1.5 percent tax on payroll cost for work performed in the city. small businesses with less than 250,000 dollars in payroll costs are exempt from the tax. proposition e would create a new city business tax based on gross receipts rather than payroll costs. under the new system, the tax on payroll cost would be eliminated or reduced. businesses with gross receipts of less than 1 million dollars annually will be exempt from the gross receipts tax. the gross receipts tax rate would vary depending on the type of business and its annual gross receipts from its activity in the city. certain businesses that have their headquarters or
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administrative offices in san francisco that operate primarily in other locations would pay the gross receipts tax based on payroll costs. proposition e would require the city to phase in the gross receipts tax and phase out the tax on payroll costs over a 5 year period beginning in 2014. if the gross receipts tax revenue exceeds the revenue the city would have received under the tax on the payroll costs, then the tax on the payroll costs will be phased out and the final gross receipts tax rate will be lower than the maximum submitted in this measure. i'm here with board of supervisors president david chu, and also joining us is starchild and former candidate for public office and opponent of the office. supervisor chiu, please explain why we should be voting for this proposition. >> so proposition e is a
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measure it reform our current business tax. over a decade ago, a lawsuit forced our city to use a business tax that is problematic for many reasons. first and foremost, it is a tax on jobs. every time a local employer hires someone there is a business payroll tax that's levied on that person. secondly, it is a tax that is only levied on 10 percent of all businesses and many of these are small businesses who have really been asking for reform for many many years. currently we are the only city in the state of california that uses this business payroll tax. our city government, we spent 6 months earlier this year in conversations with many leaders within the community to propose a change to a so-called gross receipts tax, which is superior on a number of levels. first and foremost, it's a tax on revenue. it's a tax on profit. it's also a progressive tax, unlike the current flat tax it's a tax that exempts small businesses that have revenues of less than
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a million dollars but it also increases taxes for our most successful and our largest businesses. then the last thing i will mention, it is a tax that will help to recoup the revenues that we lost 10 years ago to make sure we have money for affordable housing, for muni, public safetying and public health . >> starchild, why do you think we should vote against this proposition? >> i agree with everything supervisor chiu said about payroll tax. if this measure were revenue neutral, if it were substituting a gross receipts tax for a tax on payroll, the libertarian party would have supported it. but unfortunately some people at city hall got greedy and so the measure is actually a 25.8 million dollars a year tax increase. during a recetion, people are suffering, many people unemployed, many people
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in san francisco are earning minimum wage, thousands of course on our streets. it's the wrong time to be raising taxes on businesses because the largest employers, of course, have the largest number of jobs and you incentivize those employers to go away and we're going to lose jobs. >> supervisor, from reading the material on the proposition it appears it will increase the number of businesses you will be taxing from 7500 to 15,000. doplt you think that's increasing the tax on the companies within the city? >> a couple things of note. our current business payroll tax is only applied to 10 percent of all businesses and that means these businesses are shouldering the burden for the entire business community of city services that the private sector receives. the business community has recognized for years that this is unfair and
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so what we've been trying to do is to spread these expenses more evenly across the business sector, going from 10 percent of all businesses to 20 percent of all businesses. and i think the other thing that's worth noting is 10 years ago when this lawsuit hit our city which forced us into the tax that we have now, this unfair tax, we lost about $30 million dollars of revenue. so what we're trying to do right now is make up that revenue. in recent years every single year i have been in office we have had to balance massive budget deficits. in fact, my first couple years we had half billion dollar budget deficits we were trying to eliminate from our budget. the thought of not only bringing back 30 million that we lost a couple years ago, it's only a small amount compared to what we have had to cut the last couple years and i think everyone has seen the impact of not having enough money for muni, having to close down services vital to our city, not having money to
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build affordable housing for our police officers, our fire fighters, our nurses, our public health system, i think we all see the benefit of that. >> starchild, you made a comment earlier that you agreed with the supervisor with the exception of the registration fee for all the businesses. is that the only issue that you disagree with or are there other issues that you disagree with? >> that's the only issue. the issue is that we shouldn't be transferring more money from the people of san francisco to the government of san francisco. government has grown so much in recent years and now we're in the middle of an economic downturn when people are hurting. thousands of individual san franciscoans, businesses, have had their budgets cut. they have lost jobs over the past decade. they have lost more revenue than the 30 million city hall has because city hall has taken more than that amount from the people and businesses of san francisco. unfortunately